“Wait, what do you mean by that?” Kol walked after her, slightly spooked by what she had just said. So far, she hadn’t given any indication about her feelings for him in any shape or form other than being pleasant with him and at ease because it didn’t happen that way. Not with him, because it just didn’t happen.
“It explains why your brother called me your girlfriend,” she replied as she finished topping the lasagna and shoved it into the oven, cleaning the counter was the next step. “He’s seriously old fashioned and I’m really glad you’re not.”
“Ha!” Kol laughed as he turned to his brother and pointed at him. “She thinks you’re old fashioned and she’s right!”
“I’m only a few years older than you,” Klaus frowned. “If she think I’m old fashioned then she should meet Elijah.”
“She’d likely consider him to be quite dead,” he snorted, leaning against the doorway to block the entrance from his brother. There was no way he was going to allow Nik to get inside now. In this case, it was a good thing Bella perceived the world differently.
“She will figure it before you are ready yourself,” Klaus shrugged, brushing him off. Turning to walk away, he added. “I doubt you would be able to handle that!”
Kol reached for the nearest item and propelled it towards his brother who ducked. “I won’t miss next time!”
“Hey, be nice,” Bella chided him sweetly. “He’s a romantic, it’s adorable. No doubt he treats Myriam like a queen.”
“Yeah, she makes him,” Kol huffed, turning back to Bella. “So, what’s next now that your lasagna is in the oven?”
“Make the table?”
“It’s already set in the dining room,” Kol confirmed. “How about I show you around a little?” He held out his hand for her to take. “The building is quite big and beautiful. Completely different from how I decorated.” He then smiled widely. “I’m pretty sure you’ll get a kick out of the library. Such a great source of history.”
Bella allowed him to show her around the building, and he was right, it was a beautiful place, but so big. Why would a person need a building this big? She’d gone to abandoned houses that were huge, and they had small families live in them, or some even big families, but this was just Klaus and Myriam. And this Elijah. Occasionally their sister. Did they really need this much space? Granted, it felt like a home, but when she briefly opened herself up, she felt there was more going on. “You do realize apart from Myriam’s spirits that are with her, that there’s quite a few here?”
“Oh yes, very likely. Why? You want to hug them?”
“No,” Bella smiled then. “They seem to be quite content here, roaming the halls, keeping an eye out for any trouble, enjoying themselves with all the drama going on inside these walls. Surprisingly I don’t feel anything bad here. Or perhaps Myriam has banished them. That could quite possibly be the case.”
“Correct,” Myriam’s voice sounded from behind them. “Negative energy only fuels a vampire’s anger. The family all calmed down once I got rid of the idiots.”
“Hmm yes. Nik is as scary as a golden retriever puppy nowadays,” Kol mumbled.
“That might change at the party tonight,” Myriam grinned. “You sure you want to miss it?”
“I think Bella is a little prettier than my brother to spend my evening with, thank you.”
“Okay,” Myriam smiled. “So, when’s the lasagna ready? It smells delicious already! This one time when I was in Bologna, oh god, that lasagna was divine! Like… orgasmic. Haven’t had a decent lasagna since, well, unless Nik arranges an Italian chef, of course.”
“Not for another half an hour,” Bella muttered, again hating Kol for dragging her to his brother and his girlfriend. She was certain they weren’t going to like her lasagna, but at least she was going to. She had wanted to share her lasagna with Kol, because he was so generous to her and helping her out. It was like sharing a piece of her and now she was going to share that piece of her with more people. And she was sure they weren’t going to like it, no matter how delicious it smelled.
Kol had told her that she herself smelled delicious and he didn’t want to eat her.
Yep, totally overthinking it all. Bella excused herself from Kol and Myriam and headed back to the kitchen where she sat down on the counter and just stared at the lasagna, willing it to be done already. She was hungry. She was pretty sure there wasn’t a ‘party’ tonight, no, Klaus and Myriam were going to join Elijah and likely kick some wolf ass. And Bella wasn’t even scared or angry about it. No, it was a part of their life, part of the way they lived.
Like Kol said, he wasn’t an angel and likely his siblings weren’t either, but she trusted that this asskicking would be just. A means to an end, after all, she had heard Elijah had been trying to deal with the wolves for a while now. It was sweet how his family wanted him to join them but that he chose Bella over them. They were going to try out the new equipment anyway, but it gave her a warm fuzzy feeling that Kol wanted to stay.
Once the lasagna was done, she brought the dish to the dining room where Myriam, Klaus and Kol were already waiting, eagerly. “Oh,” Bella let out a breath as she carefully placed the dish on the table. “I hope this is to your liking, but I’m totally ready to eat this.”
“It smells delicious,” Klaus replied with a smile on his face and rose to his feet. “I generally don’t allow new guests to my house to take over my kitchen and cook without a proper meet first.”
Myriam and Kol both sat back in their chairs and rolled their eyes exasperatedly. “Is this necessary? Just let her settle in and get used to us before you spread your peacock feathers,” she remarked.
He leaned on the table and intently looked at Bella, his true face coming out. “Is this poisoned?”
“You’re ugly,” Bella replied calmly, not flinching. “Are you going to dish out the lasagna or shall I? Because I’m really starving.”
“Yes Nik, feed our guest the delicious smelling food she so kindly made for us,” Kol remarked, not amused by the antics.
“I’m impressed,” Klaus replied as his face returned to normal and pointed to a chair for Bella to sit. “You’re not scared at all, here I thought you were easily scared by things not pertaining to your dead friends,” he said as he plated up the lasagna. “My apologies for not assisting you in carrying the meal up, my brother, Myriam and I were too engrossed in our conversation.”
“I made the food, of course I bring it to the table,” Bella blinked, anxiously awaiting for Klaus to be done plating up, the familiar smell of her lasagna hitting her, making her feel so happy.
Myriam took a roll and threw it at Klaus. “Hurry up with the food or I’ll cut you off. We are hungry.”
Klaus eventually sat down with a smirk on his face. “Happy?” He asked Myriam before looking at Bella. “Thank you for this meal, Bella, you didn’t have to go through all the trouble to do this.”
“I hope you like it,” Bella said as she started to dig in.
He smiled knowingly and started eating, keeping his curious gaze on her. He could see why Kol was enthralled by her. She certainly was enchanting. “Delicious. You are certainly welcome to cook for the family any time you desire. Even if this dinner was the result of the games my brother and Myriam enjoy playing.”
“Yeah, I kinda wanted the spirits to tease him tonight for doing this to me,” Bella nodded. “I only wanted to cook for him.”
“Oh I’m sure that they would happily comply for you. All you need is ask,” Klaus answered with his arm gesturing to the open span of the compound.
“Oh, not these spirits,” Bella smiled. “Maybe the spirits of wherever Kol’s taking me tonight.” She had finished her plate in no time and saw there was still some left. “Does anyone else want some more?”
“No, go ahead,” Kol laughed. “Where are you keeping all that food though?”
“In my belly,” Bella replied as she took another spoonful of lasagna on her plate. “This is my comfort food, I love the whole process of making it. Granted, I used a cheat, but this usually takes days to make… I rarely got the chance to make this in the last couple of years.”
“We don’t get homemade food like this. Everything is made by a different fancy chef each week Klaus nabs from area restaurants,” Myriam spoke between bites. “I’ll take this over his fanciness any day.”
“This is really good indeed,” Klaus agreed. “But we can hardly expect the girl to cook for us every day.”
“I can cook!” Myriam growled.
“No dear, you have the talent to make water burn.”
“You’re really holding that over my head? After three hundred years, you still hold that over me?” Myriam huffed as she took another bite. “We’ll continue this conversation later.”
Klaus smirked over his glass of wine. “I look forward to it, Love.”
“Oh, don’t be so smug about it. I’m going to win,” Myriam replied, leveling her gaze on him.
“Perhaps another time then?” He relied standing from his seat and looked at the door.
“Hi,” a voice sounded and Bella looked at the young man standing in the doorway. “Kol, dude! I went over to your apartment but you weren’t there so I came here and I struck gold! And there’s food left over! Oh man,” Bella recognized him to be Jeremy, Kol’s friend, as he sauntered in, took Kol’s fork and started to eat straight from the oven dish. “Oh, this is good,” he said with his mouth full. “Much better than Damon’s – don’t tell him I said that.”
“What kind of uncultured swine are you?” Myriam shot at the boy, not taking any action because even Klaus seemed to be slightly surprised and hesitant about the boy’s presence.
“Gilbert,” Kol sucked in a breath as he got to his feet and looked at his friend who was still eating happily on his feet, with the dish in his hand. “I know you’ve been raised by wolves and all, but at least sit down while you enjoy your dinner.”
Jeremy shrugged and took the empty seat next to Bella as he extended his hand to her. “Jeremy Gilbert. We met last night on the TV thing. I’m so glad we’re teaming up, it’s going to be epic.”
“You weren’t kidding when you said you might be in town,” Kol interrupted, shoving a glass of wine in his hand in attempt to keep space between Bella and his friend. “You should have called first, mate.”
“Nah, just to see the looks on your faces is priceless,” Jeremy grinned as he scraped the oven dish. “So, we’re going ghost hunting tonight?”
“It’s not hunting,” Bella muttered, slightly uncomfortable with the ball of energy next to her. “We’re going to visit.”
“Call it – exploring. Hunting implies killing. We aren’t trying to kill ghosts,” Kol commented as he sat back down, grumpier than after his interactions with his brother.
“It’s still hunting,” Jeremy shrugged, grabbing a roll and taking a bite out of it.
“You’re not coming with, tonight,” Bella stated, shaking her head. His energy was overwhelming. “I don’t know you, we haven’t spoken and I haven’t instructed you. You’re not coming with.” She then turned to him to stare him down. “And if you do follow us, you won’t be happy, got it?”
“Woah, Bella, chill,” he put his hands up in defense. “No need to be this hostile. I thought you were this cute, chill girl, you know.”
“I’m not. I’m putting my foot down.”
Kol sipped on wine/blood, saying nothing. He didn’t have to as he was proud of his girl standing up to a strong being like Gilbert.
“Alright,” Jeremy replied, a smile on his face. “I have to respect that. You’re absolutely right.”
“She’s mine all night. And you can bunk here with Nik and Elijah while you’re at it,” Kol finally piped up.
“He’s not staying here!” Klaus objected. “There is no way I will share my living space with a Gilbert. He can stay at your place.”
“I still haven’t paid for my room at the hostel, Jeremy can go there,” Bella shrugged as she got up to clear the plates. “He’ll have a blast.”
Kol’s dark eyes glittered at the thought. “Yes. We can walk you there and make sure you settle in. I’m sure the kids will just love you. Special treatment, yes, Bella?”
“Oh yeah, definitely,” Bella nodded as she placed the dirty dishes in the empty oven dish. “I think that Ms. Margret will just love the boy. Let me clean these dishes and then we can go,” she flashed him a smile before walking off to the kitchen.
Kol took off after her, taking the stack from her hands to deposit in the kitchen before returning, appearing in front of her. “We have staff for that. Let’s get rid of the pest so it is only a party of two tonight,” he whispered.
“Playing with new toys,” she grinned as she looped her arm through his while they walked to their bags.
He shook his head, smiling. “You a toy? Never. I’ll rip the head off anyone that does consider you one.”
“You weren’t talking about testing the new equipment? Did our plans change?”
“I’m sure if I ask nicely, we can have the place to ourselves to test your goodies but Nik asked we stay off the streets particularly tonight. This place has a lot of history but is spelled to protect against supernatural that has intentions to cause harm,” he murmured in her ear.
“Don’t think it’s wise to test here because people might recognize this place,” she replied as she couldn’t stop the shiver that ran down her spine. “Fine, we’re staying in but tomorrow we’ll go somewhere, yes?”
“Sure. Anywhere you want,” Kol blindly agreed as his fingers pet her arm that was wrapped around his.
Bella grinned. “I’ll put up a poll for people to vote on.” Once they had her bag and Kol’s – which still had the equipment, Bella turned to Jeremy. “Come, we’ll show you where you’ll be staying for the duration of our stay in New Orleans.”
After showing Jeremy to the hotel and making sure his first night was going to be quite interesting, Kol took Bella back home, to the apartment. Yeah, he was pissed his brother didn’t want them on the streets, but he understood why. The wolves could come after them and while Kol was more than capable of taking care of himself, Bella was a different story.
He and Bella spoke about Jeremy on the way back; he had already noticed Jeremy’s energy was too much for her and that it would require a few encounters for her to be able to deal with it. Yes, Jeremy was pretty much like an overexcited labrador, but he meant well and was extremely capable.
It pleased him that Nik and Myriam wanted to protect her as much as he did. But he had made a promise, he had been lugging around the new equipment for most of the day and they hadn’t used it. No, tomorrow was going to be the day, because she really wanted it.
She was set up with her laptop at the table in the kitchen after making a pot of tea and went to work. Kol found it endearing she cared so much about her audience and watched her for a little while as she tinkered with her website. Removing her wish list. Removing most of Jake. Cleansing her website and refreshing everything.
[blog post] Hi guys! Here’s a quick update of how things are going here in New Orleans.
Things have been strange, but quite fascinating. Here’s a link to some audio I captured in the hotel I stayed at. It was continuous and there was no sleep haha.
I’ve made a new friend and he’s going to help me document things for you. With him also comes new equipment and OMG I can’t wait to test them! Where would you like us to go? Vote in the poll below 🙂
Where are we going tomorrow?
“Nik is going to kill you for wanting to go to Jackson Square,” Kol mused as he looked over her shoulder. “Seriously, it’s not a good idea. At least inside a building we’re free to use everything.”
“We’ll see,” Bella shrugged as she turned to him. “I’m done for the night, what are you up to?”
“Watching you, of course,” he whispered in her ear, closing her laptop for her. Kol had been invading her personal space the entire day now and she didn’t seem to mind. Or find him creepy. A lot of people found it creepy, but it appeared she thought it was normal or maybe she did like him so close to her after all. “Snacks are on the table, what movie do you want to watch?”
Bella thought for a moment as she looked at him. “Hmm… instead of a movie, how about I kick your ass with the game you were playing yesterday? You have an extra controller, right?”
“You play videogames?”
“Are you kidding me? Jake lugged his xbox with him everywhere we went!”
“Then you’re on,” Kol smirked as he went over to the living room. “You are so on.”
They went for breakfast the next morning at some tiny but cute sandwich shop and Jeremy looked absolutely drained and tired. “Aw, look, Gilbert didn’t get a lot of sleep last night,” Kol said teasingly as he looked at his friend. “Rough night?”
“Man, I wasn’t even trying to see stuff but all those kids kept running into my room, stomping their feet, throwing those toys around… Singing songs… Poking me on the bed…” He sighed, running a hand through his hair. “And when I cursed, it felt like a bucket of ice cold water was getting dumped on me.”
“Better you than me. We barely got through our initial introduction because of those little monsters,” Kol laughed at him.
“And then there was that nun!” Jeremy cried out. “I think I got smacked by a ruler on my ass a few times while I tried to sleep!”
“Next time politely ask if they’d leave you alone, or at least stay out of your room,” Bella said with a shrug, taking a bite off her sandwich.
“You could have burned sage in the room,” Kol added.
Jeremy huffed. “I’m going to find my own hotel if I can’t stay with you guys, this place was nuts,” he said as he took a swig of his coffee. “So, am I in?”
“In?” Bella blinked.
“Did I pass your little test?”
“No,” she shook her head and then pointed at Kol. “But he didn’t either, at first, so…”
“That’s because I’m cuter than you,” Kol smiled. “She should make you squirm more for finishing up her lasagna that was meant for us.”
“I was hungry and it was food.”
“Buy your own.”
“Didn’t your parents ever teach you to share?”
“No. They were too busy trying to kill us,” Kol easily replied, then looked to Bella. “Do you know where you and I are going tonight?”
“No, I haven’t closed the poll yet,” she said, before looking at Jeremy. “Okay, here’s the deal – Kol sort of insisted you’d join us because of what you can do and of who you are. However, you need to bring your energy down to a normal level. You have like… this presence I can’t get around of, like a brick wall.”
“And you’re saying he’s got good energy?” Jeremy pointed at Kol. “That’s rich.”
“No, I’m saying Jeremy is like a booster and a blocker all rolled into one. So unless you can get it sorted, you can join us, but stay at a distance.”
“I’ve been called a lot of names, but blocker?”
“And if you do come with, you will not provoke anything or anyone. Yeah, you can react to them, but treat them with respect. Even if you get provoked, try not to lash out because that could escalate things, think you can do that?”
Kol intentionally looked away, finding any sort of distraction as they all knew he would have the most difficulty. Jeremy just didn’t know how well he’d been since meeting Bella. “I’ll do my best to figure it out,” the boy agreed solemnly.
“So yeah, sort out your energy and we’re good. I can’t pay you anything, I can pay for food, your hotel and travel, but there’s no salary.”
“I’m good. Just needed a reason to get out of town. I have my own money,” Jeremy shrugged.
“Okidoki,” she smiled at him before continuing to eat her sandwich. “I leave the rest up to Kol, we discussed things at length, but he has his own ideas and I just have to let go of some control and trust him to make sure the viewers get the good stuff.” Bella had a feeling she needed to take it easy today, something told her that tonight was going to be quite exciting and that was without having checked where her viewers wanted them to go. “Can I stop thinking now?”
“By all means Darling. What shall we do in the meanwhile?” Kol asked, fiddling with his phone.
“Well, I suppose I’ll be looking for ways to lower my energy or at least stop myself from broadcasting it,” Jeremy said as he finished his coffee and looked at Kol, worried. He didn’t like antsy vampires. “What’s on your mind?”
Kol glanced at his phone. “Waiting on Nik to let me know how last night went. I’m sure he’s holed up with Myriam,” he shrugged. “As far as you… maybe drink some camomile tea? I hear it’s very calming.”
“I am calm,” Jeremy replied truthfully. “I’m freaking tired because I didn’t sleep last night. Still not good enough. But sure, I’ll go and drink litres of camomile tea and maybe I’ll be good enough to join you two tonight.”
Kol huffed as he thought about something in regards to Bella’s safety. If there were people following her, after her, wherever she went, why have her viewers vote for where she’d go and spend some time with the ghosts? It was like she was painting a huge target on her back. He understood she wanted to give her viewers what they wanted, but this was her life here. She was already in New Orleans like they requested and voted for, but to vote for specific locations? “I know just the place to explore tonight,” he eventually said, looking at Bella. “Nothing of that list you posted this morning.”
“Nope, not hearing it. From now on, no more polls asking your viewers where you’re going to go next. Got it?”
“Random on purpose. I like it,” Jeremy said thoughtfully. “Helps keeping crazies from showing up.”
Kol raised an eyebrow at him. “You mean like you?”
“Oh no, you’re stuck with me, mate,” Jeremy grinned but nodded towards Bella. “Safer for her to not disclose locations.”
Bella opened her mouth to say something, but she had said she needed to free up some control and stuff, trusting Kol. “Fine, but you agreed you’d take me wherever I wanted,” she retorted as she waggled her eyebrows at him. “How about an abandoned mental asylum? Surely you’ve got at least one of those here.”
Jeremy smiled. “Yeah. Plus I heard of a place that was like a nursing home for witches. Is that still kicking?”
“Despite Bella’s objections, her abilities make her a witch. Do you really think I would bring her in there knowing she can’t get out?” Kol shot at Jeremy.
“So that rumor is true? I didn’t know…”
“We can go to the Fleur-de-Lis Sanatorium. It’s been abandoned for years. Who knows what might be going on there?” Kol offered Bella after looking on the internet for some unknown haunts. “According to the internet, one of those big paranormal investigation teams have been there recently, wouldn’t it be fun to debunk everything they came up with?”
“That’s not nice,” Bella sighed.
“But they’re doing it to you, too,” Jeremy countered. “The amount of times they put your footage on TV and discuss it in shows, it’s insane.”
“It’ll be fun, but if you have an idea that’s not on that poll, I’m more than open to negotiate,” Kol added as he passed his laptop to her so she could read about his suggestion.
Bella sucked in a breath as she looked at pictures of the building. “It’s big, I’ve never done a three story building before.”
“Four, if you count the basement,” Kol added. “You don’t have to go to every level, you know. We could just start on base level. If you like it, we can always return.”
“What about permits? Insurance? I mean, it’s not a public location so it’s really hard to-”
“Let me worry about that, darling,” he smiled at her. “While Jeremy here is going to see if he can lower his energy today, you can go home and prepare and then I will make sure everything is in order.”
“It’s still a huge building.”
“Yes, imagine all the spirits stuck there, it’s going to be awesome,” Jeremy grinned, bouncing in his seat from excitement.
Bella faced him, slowly shaking her head. “How old are you again?”
“If he can’t figure his shit out by tonight, I’ll make sure Myriam has something he can have on him to help,” Kol murmured, resting his chin on her shoulder, as he leaned closer to open another link about the location.
“The less I know about this location, the better,” Bella said as she turned her head towards his, they were almost nose to nose. “Let’s go to this place.”
He grinned, winking at her. “Consider it done. I’ll go handle the paperwork. Are you going to hang out at the apartment or do you want to hang out at the compound?”
“Oh no, the apartment for sure,” Bella replied, not even thinking about her options. “I’ll take down the poll on the website and then relax. Maybe take a bath.”